Have you ever spent a long Friday at work getting excited about kicking back with a bowl of nacho chips and freshly made guacamole…only to find that your avocados are still green and inedible?
When you’re walking down that grocery store aisle, particularly in the produce department, there’s something very important you should keep in mind: the pesticides in those fruits and vegetables. While it’s something you’re likely to be concerned about already, with a 2015 Consumer Reports survey revealing it was a concern for 85 percent of Americans, many still aren’t sure if those worries are justified, especially considering the cost of buying organic produce averages around 49 percent more than standard produce.
But is saving a little money in the short term really the best decision when it could put your health in jeopardy? In the long run, you may save big when it comes to medical bills and, of course, the quality of your life.
Renowned holistic physician Dr. Mercola recently focused on the latest pesticide residue report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, noting that it found “about 85 percent of the more than 10,000 samples they tested contained pesticide residues.” Another report, he writes, compiled by the FDA and released in November 2017, also demonstrated that the majority of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. were contaminated with pesticide residues.
The FDA’s sampling of nearly 6,000 foods discovered that fruits and vegetables are most frequently contaminated with pesticide residues, with 82 percent of domestic fruits and 62 percent of domestic vegetables containing these potentially harmful chemicals.
All that means that there’s a very good reason to go organic, considering the many different pesticides that are probably in your produce if you don’t. Those pesticides can attack your health in multiple ways, including these.
No one wants to hear the dreaded “c” word. That diagnosis, sadly, has been linked in more than 260 studies to pesticides, including lung, liver, brain, breast, prostate and other cancers. Even indirect exposure may be harmful to children due to parental exposure during gestation, or even before conception. Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives linked parental use of pesticides with a higher risk of brain cancer in children. “Parental exposures may act before the child’s conception, during gestation, or after birth to increase the risk of cancer,” the researchers noted. When parents are exposed to the pesticides, they added, those may also play a role in the different cellular changes that lead to cancer.
Infertility and Birth Defects
There’s another way pesticides can impact your children – or, your ability to have them in the first place. In fact, one of the most well-known negative impacts of pesticides is infertility. It’s continuously found to be a result of exposure to chemicals like atrazine, a weed killer used in agriculture and golf courses. It’s even been found in our tap water and is commonly found in apple and peach orchards as well as strawberry fields. Other research, which tested roundup on mature male rats found that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, their testicular cells rats were either damaged or killed.
If you’re already pregnant, it’s crucial to avoid pesticides, as they’ve been linked to all sorts of birth defects, including glyphosate, which is the primary active ingredient in the top-selling herbicide Roundup. Yet, that compound is not even tested for by the FDA. Environmental Health News reported:
“Neither FDA nor USDA has routinely tested for glyphosate despite the fact it is the world’s most widely used herbicide, and testing by academics, consumer groups, and other countries has shown residues of the weed killer in food. The FDA said in early 2016 that it planned to start testing for the weed killer, and documents show that one FDA chemist reported finding residues in honey and in oatmeal products, but overall results of the program testing have not been released publicly.
Details of the testing program are being kept secret, and in the documents released by FDA through the FOIA, large blocks of information are blacked out. FDA declined to comment about the status of the glyphosate and 2,4-D testing, including when it might publish some results.”
Diabetes and Obesity
Pesticides have been strongly associated with obesity too, and as obesity and diabetes often go hand-in-hand, it makes sense that these chemicals also have a connection to diabetes. Scientific research discovered there was a higher prevalence of obesity in people with high urinary concentrations of a pesticide called 2,5-DCP, one of the most widely used pesticides on Earth. The findings showed that these chemicals can create insulin resistance in fat cells, and were revealed at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting.
Negative Effects to the Nervous System and the Immune System
Pesticides can have many short-term consequences too, for example, organophosphates have been shown to affect the nervous system, including excess salivation, stomach pain, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Multiple studies have shown that pesticides alter the immune system in animals, making them more susceptible to disease.
More Affordable Ways Go Organic
While it’s true that most organic foods cost a little more, they generally bring a better value, in terms of providing more health benefits, and they often taste better too. At the same time, if you’re on a budget, it can be tough coming up with that extra cash. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save money while going organic. By taking advantage of these tips, you might just find that going organic is a lot easier than you imagined.
Buy local. Buying local can be significantly cheaper than food shipped from miles away, and it also helps to contribute to the betterment of your community and area farmers. Visit a farmers market and talk to local farmers about their practices. They may not have USDA organic certification, which helps to keep their prices lower, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they use pesticides or other potentially harmful substances.
Grow your own. You don’t have to own a farm or acres of land to grow your own food. Many fruits and vegetables can be grown in containers or in hanging pots right on your patio. You might plant an herb pot in your kitchen so that you always have fresh herbs on hand for cooking, as organic herbs tend to be some of the priciest items at the grocery store.
Search for coupons and other discounts. Many organic food companies offer printable coupons on their websites. If you have a few favorite brands, consider joining the company’s social media page to stay updated on special sales and discounts. There are also organic coupon sites with some great deals, such as Organic Deals, Healthsavers and Mambo Sprouts.